5 tips for macromanaging

2013 05 29 10 37 53 47 Knowles Lisa 200 20130529173836

Previously, I wrote about the perils of micromanaging. This article focuses on the opposite: macromanaging. I use the term macromanage when I think of my business from a 10,000-foot view. I macromanage when I lead and manage with a big picture in mind.

Lisa Knowles, DDS.Lisa Knowles, DDS.

In dentistry, the big picture is often lost. We are trained to focus in on our patients' problems, within millimeters, before we help with the solutions. We sniff out decay or a sliver of calculus like a bloodhound sniffs out a wild rabbit. If we cannot manage these things, we purchase loupes to help us narrow our focus even more. We enlarge a tiny space to see it better. Despite my love for loupes, I realize we often go in when we should be going out.

How do we go out? How do we train ourselves to stop looking for more details and gain the outside, rooftop view in our businesses? Here are my top tips to help dental professionals see the bigger picture while also maintaining an appreciation for details.

1. Go outside

“We often go in when we should be going out.”

Literally. Walk around your entire office. How does it look? Would people drive or walk by and want to step inside? Is it inviting, or is it gray and drab like many offices I see? Remember, women make many of the decisions about healthcare in their families. If people see a beautiful, colorful website, they will expect a matching outside (and inside) office appearance.

For new patients, you want a positive first impression, not one of disappointment. Add some greenery, flowers, and color. Make sure there is no peeling paint or uneven sidewalks near your entrance. Patients continue to form their opinions about you the moment they enter your business space.

2. Commit to a yearly offsite vision quest

These daylong retreats force you to slow down. Do not do this alone. Hire a facilitator to walk you through this process. The time spent away from the office is well worth the expense and effort. You must break the cycle of looking for details and trying to micromanage. Get away from the office and allow someone to help you let your mind wander and wonder.

3. Stop comparing

It is easy to look around and compare your practice, your technology, or patient base with someone else's. It is easy to get caught up in someone else's dream or purpose. Spend time each month focusing on your purpose and your goals. This is a big picture activity and requires an intentional effort. If done regularly, it qualms the innate worrying feature in all of us and allows you to think strategically, rather than impulsively, to fix problems.

4. Adopt a regular, mind-slowing, noncompetitive activity

I suggest tai chi, yoga, or meditation. Your mind is saturated with data, facts, and suggestions. If your mind is constantly in motion and full, how can you take in new information or have any space to allow in new information? Slowing down actually allows you to see a bigger picture; this ultimately allows you to speed up, but maybe in a different direction than anticipated.

5. Read books not on dentistry

Read business books, medical books, public health articles, and education materials. This opens up your focus and allows you to see the connections between and among different subjects. It also allows you to converse with patients about a variety of topics.

As leaders, we must think about the vision of our practices. It may be difficult, at first, to think so broadly, and it may require outside help, but we must know how to tell our teams what is important and why we are going in a certain direction.

This requires possession of a macro perspective. We must take time to macromanage our businesses. In dentistry, we face problems big and small. We can learn to go inward and pick up on all of the details, and we can learn to step back and see the entire business with clarity and a visionary perspective.

As we master these skills, dentistry becomes easier and more enjoyable because we no longer miss the little things, and we understand and then articulate the big things more comprehensively. In essence, we lead better.

Lisa Knowles, DDS, is the founder and CEO of IntentionalDental Consulting. For more information, contact her at [email protected] or 517-331-3688. Visit her blog site at Beyond32Teeth.com or website at IntentionalDental.com.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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